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Healthy Habits Include Hygiene

By: Angela Asch, MA

  • Tuesday, March 17, 2020
  • 2 Minute Read   

Healthy habits begin with small actions repeated every day.

Healthy habits begin with small actions repeated every day. Healthy habits like brushing teeth, washing hands, eating a variety of nutritious foods, exercising and getting good sleep all protect against serious health problems and aid in a better quality of life. Teaching and modeling healthy habits starts at birth.

Proper handwashing is one healthy habit that is vital to protecting your health. Teaching and modeling handwashing starts as soon as children are able to participate in the action, which may be as early as the age of one. Washing hands properly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water prevents the spread of germs and protects you, your family and your community. Proper handwashing includes five easy steps.

  1. Wet hands with clean, running water (warm or cold).
  2. Apply soap and rub together, make sure to cover the backs of hands, in between fingers, and under nails.
  3. Scrub hands for at least 20 seconds.
  4. Rinse hands under clean, running water.
  5. Dry hands on a clean towel or air-dry.

Teach children to wash hands before:

  • Food preparation
  • Eating

Teach children to wash hands after:

  • Using the bathroom
  • Blowing their nose, coughing or sneezing
  • Touching animals
  • Touching pet food or treats
  • Touching garbage
  • Food preparation

Model and make healthy habits fun by guiding and doing them with young children. Try singing songs to keep children engaged. Learning new habits takes time; each new habit may take days or months to become part of a regular routine. It is important to invest the time and repeat the behavior regularly, so be patient and practice often!

To teach why handwashing is so important, what germs do and how to prevent the spread of disease, try using these resources, which includes a lesson guide, activity sheets, fact sheet and quiz. All of which are free for teachers and parents to use with children.

Health Resources Online

To learn more about healthy habits and explore food literacy anytime, anywhere, visit our website for free online resources.

Handwashing: clean hands save lives. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/campaign.html. Accessed March 13, 2020.
Global Handwashing Day 2013! Global Handwashing Partnership [video]. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3t4rlPkqzEc&list=PLWDd9lzMZFCfnkZh2KBzrscPitL7t-QBn&index=4&t=0s. Accessed March 13, 2020.
Scrub Club Resources. NSF International. Scrub Club website. https://www.scrubclub.org/parents-teachers-media/resources.php. Accessed March 13, 2020.

Angela Asch, MA

Angela Asch, MA

Angela, Project Manager for Resource Development team, brings expertise in child development and nutrition education to her role.

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